The Americans have been testing laser weapons for several years, and recent reports indicate that the 50-kilowatt laser installed on the Stryker tanker is capable of shooting down mortars or small drones.
As part of a directed energy maneuvering short range air defense program, the US Army plans to purchase four Striker Laser aircraft later this year for further testing. Two teams are involved in the program, one featuring Lockheed Martin with the system we described some time ago DemosThe other consists of Raytheon and Kord Technologies.
This time we have information from Raytheon, who flaunted the efficiency of his 50-kilowatt laser during a four-week test at the White Sands test site in New Mexico. According to the company’s information, the laser system was able to neutralize massive mortars with a diameter of 60 mm, and was also able to shoot down many small and even large UAVs.
Using lasers to combat drones, incoming missiles or mortars is a much cheaper system to use than using a barrage of guns with programmable ammunition like the Rheinmetall Skynex. Although the purchase of laser systems will not be cheap, it is estimated that the cost of eliminating a single target can reach $1-4.
In addition, laser systems have a greater operating range of more than 4 km and the beam moves at the speed of light, thanks to which the accuracy is impressive. Greater reliability was also noted due to the smaller number of moving parts, the theoretical “infinite ammunition” and the possibility of the so-called silent projection, which is not possible in the case of classic guns or anti-missiles.
The downside is the issue of powering and cooling the electronics, but current 50 kW systems show that this can only be done with a relatively compact armored car engine or generator.
Systems of this type would be ideally suited to protect forward bases or as reinforcement of air defense for convoys, in combination with classic systems based on cannons or missiles, since the 50-kilowatt laser is not suitable for combat against armored targets at sufficient speed. It is basically the same concept as in the Israeli system.”iron beamIt is designed to be a cheaper interception solution than Tamir anti-missiles.
Przemysław Juraszek, journalist at Gadgetomania
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